Josh Iby darted across ice, sprawling out as he crossed the blue line to greet a raucous student section by sliding on the ice. In a career filled with clutch goals, the Pope Francis senior captain saved his most meaningful moment for his final game.
Iby scored with 25.6 seconds remaining, his second of the game, finishing a slick backhanded feed from junior Mossy Kearney on the back post as fourth-seeded Pope Francis edged No. 7 Xaverian, 3-2, for the Division 1 boys’ hockey title at TD Garden.
The Cardinals (21-2-3), Super 8 co-champs in 2020 after being denied in the 2018 and 2019 finals, were last champions in 2009 when, as Springfield Cathedral, they beat Arlington Catholic in the Division 1 final.
“I was playing out there with everything I had, a lot of emotion. I knew that we could win — the only thing stopping us was us,” said Iby, who plans to prep at Cushing Academy next year.
Iby gained the zone with a head of steam, leaving a drop pass for Kearney before drifting to the back post as Kearney drew defenders in the slot. Upon receiving the pass, Iby hammered it home for his 20th goal of the season.
“Josh dropped the puck, I was planning on shooting it but the guy stepped [up] on me,” said Kearney. “The goalie bit on the shot so I slid it over to Josh and I knew that he had it.”
Iby potted his first goal of the afternoon on the power play, one-timing a cannon of a slap shot off a feed from junior Jake Jarrell.
“Josh is our undisputed leader, our top player,” said Pope Francis coach Brian Foley. “He’s a handful, a big kid — he’s 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and he can skate. When he turns it on, he’s just a handful. To see him score those two goals in his last game was great.”
Cole Pouliot-Porter made 24 saves and Devin Gosciak and Sean Connolly supplied the scoring for the Hawks (16-9-0), who have lost consecutive state finals.
“We have an amazing group of young men,” said Xaverian coach Dave Spinale.
“We graduated 15 seniors last year, so I think everyone thought this would be a rebuild. Cole has been our anchor all year, it’s no secret, he’s been amazing. The guys have rallied behind him, and this young group played really well. I’m so proud of the effort, the attitude, the closeness of this group. They are an amazing group of young men. They played their hearts out today. I’m so proud of them.”
Pope Francis 3, Xaverian 2
at TD Garden, Boston
Xaverian (16-9) 1 1 0 — 2
Pope Francis (21-2-3) 1 1 1 — 3
1, X, Devin Gosciak (Jackson Morse, Matt Dion) 7:19. 2, P, Josh Iby (Jacob Jarrell) 5:39. 3, X, Sean Connolly (Thomas Dunn) 12:15 (sh). 4, P, Ryan O’Leary (Jacob Petrin, Nick Petkovich) 2:39. 5, P, Josh Iby (Christopher Watroba, Mossy Kearney) :26.
Saves: X, Cole Pouliot-Porter, 24; P, Nick Ritchie, 19.
Cam Kerry can be reached at email@example.com.